Applying sealer by hand is no surprise to most sealcoating contractors. In fact it’s safe to say that most sealcoating contractors got their start in the business working sealer into the pavement with a hand squeegee or brush.
But few contractors, if any, would take on the 420,000-square-foot Mercy College job Jet-Black of Rockland tackled last summer – in their first full year of operation – in the process successfully completing Jet-Black’s largest-ever sealcoating job... and by hand.
“It’s impressive,” says Nick Kelso, owner of Jet-Black Corp., Minneapolis, an asphalt maintenance franchise system, which is celebrating its 25th year in business. “A lot of our franchises would shy away from a job that large. They might be a little intimidated by it, partly because most would need equipment to get it done. So for Jet-Black of Rockland to take this on, and do it by hand, is really pretty amazing. And they were able to provide the customer with a higher quality job by brushing.”
A true family affair, Jet-Black of Rockland is owned by Suzanne Pegg, managed by her son, Brent Sauchuk, and receives assistance from Brent’s step-father, Robbie Pegg. Sauchuk had worked for Jet-Black of Orange County for two years and when the opportunity for a Rockland franchise opened up Pegg and Sauchuk jumped at it.
“It was an entrepreneurial move,” Sauchuk says. “We saw a business opportunity and took advantage of it.”
They were awarded the franchise midway through the 2010 season and he says spent the rest of that year “getting the hang of running the business.” When 2011 rolled around they were ready “and from the first day to the last day of the season we worked nonstop.”
From the start Jet-Black of Rockland offered sealcoating, cracksealing, patching and subbed out striping. Using one Equipt 550-gallon tank Sauchuk and one or two employees (depending on job size) sealcoated almost 300 driveways and 15 commercial properties – including the six parking lots and connecting streets at the main campus of Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry.
“We got the college job because we work closely with MCM Paving,” Sauchuk says. “He subs his sealcoating to us and we refer paving to him.” MCM Paving bid the job and when he was awarded the contract he contacted Sauchuk to get it done.
“And we took it on,” Sauchuk says. “We knew in advance that it would be the biggest job in franchise history and that just gave us a little extra motivation. We were just determined to do something like that and have it under our belt.”
A proponent of brushing sealer, Jet-Black Corp. promises its customers that jobs of less than 20,000 square feet will be done by hand because the company says brushing is the best way to work material into the pavement and provides a better finish. The company recognizes larger jobs might need to be sprayed simply for cost-effectiveness, but that didn’t matter to Sauchuk, who saw the 420,000-square-foot job as an opportunity to quickly make a mark in the local market. “We figured that if we did this and did it well it would get our name out there – and it worked,” Sauchuk says.
Planning & Organizing
Kelso says Sauchuk was in contact with the corporate office for “a little coaching” but really didn’t need much help. “They were really organized, and that was the key,” Kelso says.
Sauchuk says the Mercy College job involved 10,000 square feet of crack repair and 420,000 square feet of sealcoating six parking lots and all connecting roads. Jet-Black had a 14-day window to start and finish the work, and the school, while not open to all students in early August, was in use by faculty and by sports teams so offices and dorms would remain open throughout the project.
“When we first got it we were excited - it is a big job and we were going to set a record,” Sauchuk says. “Then we definitely got nervous. We were pretty organized but we knew we had to be.”